A Difficult Year

I don’t write blog entries often. To be honest, I think most bloggers blog too much. Long ago, back in my high school days, I remember someone saying, “talk is cheap because the supply exceeds the demand.” For whatever reason, that quote stuck with me my entire life. I think most people who follow this blog realize by this point that there’ll be no such thing as a “daily dose of Lee Stephen.” I can’t help but feel it’s better that way.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about a release date for Epic 5: Enemy One. It’s a question that, at this moment in time, doesn’t have an answer. I would love to release book five by 2014, but if current progress is to be used as a measuring stick, 2014 might be a long shot. I’ve always been a slow writer, despite the fact that it works to my disadvantage by common “marketing/profiting” sense. I just believe in quality. I know writers who pump out thousands of words per day, every day, and release numerous novels every single year. I don’t believe quality can be forced. As a case-in-point for that, I recently attempted to hold myself to a 750-words-per-day average. This went on for about two months, so for two months, Enemy One grew by almost a thousand words per day. And after two months, I sat back, looked at what my fingers had produced, and saw that it was poor. It wasn’t what you guys have come to expect from Epic or from me. It was story progression, and that was it. It was going through the motions, and that’s never been what Epic’s been about.

I’ve really been struggling lately. In life, in existence, so yes, naturally in Epic, too. The only way I can think to describe it is just to say, flat-out, that I’m tired. In the past year, I’ve had two things happen in my life that have impacted my entire perception of what life is. I experienced the birth of my son, Levi, who is now an 11-month-old bottle of energy and my best little buddy. Watching him grow from an infant, wrapping his entire hand around my finger, into a rug-rat who’s crawling around the house, exploring every nook, cranny, and loose object we forget to pick up, has been an indescribable adventure (if you’re a parent, you know). Bringing a baby into the world changes your perception on everything. The life you live is no longer your own. You look back at your own youth and you foresee your eventual end. Your focus shifts from, “do the best that you can,” to, “do the best that you can for him.” It is the ultimate passing of the torch, and it is completely wonderful.

I was also diagnosed with cancer. After over six months of tests and chemotherapy, I am pleased (and incredibly blessed) to be able to say that I’m in remission. But the cost of this six-month war was great. Though I managed to hold onto my hair, I did lose something much more meaningful: my sense of immortality. There’s nothing quite like the rationalization of your own death to put a permanent tilt on your expectations. It has a way of making things you took for granted seem infinitely more important, while at the same time gently pushing things you once held dearly a little further back in the fridge. If you’ve ever wanted to have your entire life’s priorities rearranged, I wholeheartedly recommend having your first child and getting cancer at the same time.

I’m writing all this really to request one thing: please be understanding and patient with me. Epic has always demanded a great deal from me emotionally. I just haven’t recuperated to the point where I can give it what it deserves. I’m not going to just force out fluff for the sake of doing it. I want Epic to be special. For it to be special, I need to be in the right frame of mind, and I’m just not there yet. This year has been very, very draining. It’s been the most challenging year of my life.

But I am not going anywhere, and neither is Epic. Enemy One, and the DOD audiobook, and everything else I have in store are still coming. My fuel cells just need to recharge.

So bear with me, stick with me, and if you’re inclined, toss a prayer or two toward me. I could really use them.

I may try and blog a bit more over the coming weeks, but it may be on more miscellaneous topics than Epic or writing. Just the same, I think it’ll be beneficial for the purpose of getting myself back into gear, slowly but surely. It could only be a good thing.

Till next time,
-LS

Comments

  1. Life has a funny way of changing our plan, after all isn’t our plan really God’s plan? Even when we don’t realize it God is always working in our lives. I have a desire to read all of the Epic novels. God willing, prayers and with some patience, I eagerly await the next turn of the page. Lee, as a fan and as a father of a 18mon daughter you have my support.

    The Epic series has never disappointed and i know what is coming will be no less than epic .

    Take care, recharge and God bless

    Jimmy

  2. I so know where you’re coming from. My podcast has gone from weekly, to bi-weekly, to ‘whenever we can manage to get one recorded’. And boy did you hit the nail on the head about how your priorities shift. I’m so happy for your return to health, may it be as permanent as your love for your munchkin. :-)

  3. Christopher says:

    Everything you’ve written so far has been incredible. Take your time and do what you need to. I think patience like that is what separates good books from amazing books. The kinds of books I read over and over. Be at peace with your choice, and know we all understand and support you. Enemy One will appear when its ready, and it’ll be the best it can possibly be. Nobody should rush you on leaving your mark on the world.

  4. You should know prayers we coming your way long before you posted this. Yes we all wait with baited breath for your next book, but life never happens to script. As the father of two daughters, one just graduating college and the other a year away, the only advice I can give you is enjoy every second of every moment you have with family. Thank you for not taking the word vomit route and succumbing to internal and external pressures to publish. Your on your way to becoming a master of your craft, and we all will enjoy your next book without diminished expectations. Stay healthy and Thank You

  5. As a two time cancer survivor I know how draining the anxiety can be.thing is we can’t ever stop fighting.I will pray for you to stay in good health and when you are ready I know enemy one will be awesome. GOD BLESS.

  6. Lee,
    As an artisan and someone who lives with a debilitating terminal illness, I Completely understand! I cannot work on my art when in certain frames if mind, otherwise it turns out to be schlock, plain and simple, and you are not schlock. So please, take your time, heal and enjoy your family! We are behind you 100% . I know when Enemy One comes out, it will be fabulous, and we’ll be there for you! God always has His reasons, we just don’t understand them….but, I’m preaching to the choir. Giggle. Prayers, support and faith, Molly

  7. molly mcintyre says:

    May God bless you. I am also going through some of the most trying times this world can throw at me. As children of God, sometimes we question these hardships, and faith can become a question instead of a constant. But know He is with us all, and faith is our standard, by grace. As you continue on your journey, know that we, your readers are also here, and more than happy to wait, patiently for quality we know will be forthcoming. I appreciate having this unique story that you have brought us, and you are in my prayers.

  8. I just read the entire Epic series this weekend. Honestly, I could not put them down. I haven’t read anything this good in years. Prayers go out to your, your little one and your wife. Take care and write when you feel up to it. It may take a while but you know the quality you are striving. Your characters come alive on the page and I’ll just wait in wonderful anticipation for 2015 or longer. It will definitely be worth the wait.

    Just do what is necessary.

    m

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